Two Kewaunee County Board committees have endorsed a resolution asking the state Department of Natural Resources to continue monitoring pollution levels on the Ahnapee River after testing is completed for a total maximum daily load (TMDL) study this fall.
The Personnel, Advisory and Legislative Committee on Friday (May 9) unanimously passed the resolution to continue testing after the Forestville Dam is drawn down starting Nov. 1. Door County officials set the date for the two-year draw down to begin after ongoing TMDL testing is completed.
“There’s been a lot of concerns about what’s going to come downstream to the Ahnapee once the dam gets opened up,” County Conservationist Davina Bonness told the Land & Water Conservation Committee on Tuesday (May 14). The resolution “asks the DNR to continue to do the testings at the current locations throughout the two years that the draw down is going to be going through.”
Opponents of the draw down contend opening the dam to empty the Forestville Millpond will send phosphorus and other contaminants down the river into Kewaunee County and Lake Michigan.
“It’s one thing to say there’s going to be stuff flushing out of the millpond when they open the dam,” said Supervisor Chuck Wagner, who serves on both committees and chairs Land & Water. “But if we continue this monitoring, we’ll actually have proof, we’ll have data.”
The data would not be part of the DNR’s report of TMDL for area waterways, but it would provide additional information for Kewaunee County’s use that the DNR could also use later, Bonness said.
“We have really bad algae blooms already in Algoma (at Crescent Beach),” Bonness said, “so we want to know what kind of phosphorus, nitrogen, suspended solids and what is coming down.”
Supervisor Dennis Paape said at a recent meeting DNR officials had a positive reaction to the idea of continuing the testing.
Although the committee’s approval wasn’t necessary to get the resolution on the County Board agenda, Land & Water went ahead and endorsed the measure anyway on a unanimous vote.
The full County Board will consider the matter when it meets at 6 p.m. May 21 at the County Administration Center, 810 Lincoln St., Kewaunee.